HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Mike Folmer has resigned from the Pennsylvania Senate following his arrest on child pornography charges.
Senate Republican leaders announced Folmer’s immediate resignation on Wednesday, saying they were “sickened and disturbed” by the charges.
“We have reviewed the criminal complaint and spoke with Mike Folmer early this morning to insist on his resignation from the Senate. We are in receipt of his letter of resignation and the 48th Senatorial District seat is now vacant,” Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati and Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman said in a statement.
Folmer’s letter of resignation contained only one sentence. “It is with this letter that I announce my intention to resign from the Senate of Pennsylvania effective September 18, 2019,” he wrote.
Senate Republican leaders stripped the four-term senator of his committee chairmanship soon after the charges were announced Tuesday evening by state Attorney General Josh Shapiro.
Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and others called on Folmer to “immediately resign.” In a statement Wednesday morning, Wolf said the charges were “disgusting and beyond comprehension.”
Folmer, 63, was arrested after agents with the attorney general’s child predator unit and the Department of Homeland Security served a search warrant at his Lebanon home.
The search was preceded by a six-month investigation that began March 4, when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received a tip from the microblogging and social networking website Tumblr.
Tumblr reported at least one image containing suspected child pornography was uploaded on Dec. 28, 2017, by a user with the screen name hoser44. Tumblr additionally provided investigators with the user’s email and internet protocol addresses, which eventually were linked to Folmer, according to the criminal complaint.
The image, according to the complaint, depicts “a very young female child” engaged in a sexual act.
Folmer was contacted at his Lebanon office at the time of the search and agreed to return home and turn over his phone. He was advised of his Miranda Rights and stated he was willing to speak to the agents without the presence of an attorney.
During an interview, he admitted that the Tumblr account associated with the tip is his. He told investigators that he “had been dealing with some personal problems/issues and that he had received child pornography through his Tumblr blog,” the complaint states.
Two images of apparent child pornography were found during a computer forensics search of the phone. “The two images discovered depicted indecent contact with a minor,” the complaint states.
Folmer is charged with three felony counts of possession of child pornography and one felony count of criminal use of a communication facility.
Folmer was arraigned before a district judge who set a cash bail of $25,000, which was not posted immediately, according to online court records. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 26.
Folmer represented the 48th senatorial district which includes Lebanon County and parts of Dauphin and York counties. He was elected to the state Senate in 2006, in the wake of a public backlash over the legislative pay raise of 2005.